Ten Crucial Points you should insist on from your landscape contractor

1. Length of time in business: 96% of all contractors fail in the first five years. 90% of those left fail in the second five years. You should choose a company that has been in business for at least ten years.

2. Insured or Insured Properly: Many contractors lack any insurance or adequate insurance. Insist on copies of updated General Liability, Workman’s Compensation and Auto policies. If a contractor who has no or inadequate insurance, gets injured or has a problem at your property — who then becomes responsible?

3. Financial Stability: Is the company strong financially? Companies who are deeply in debt may tend to make decisions based on such a situation. Will they rush through the job, cut corners, or use substandard materials to save money? Insist on the names of the contractor’s suppliers to call and check their financial stability.

4. Ask for References: Ask for names of many past customers and take the time to call them. If a contractor gives you a small number of references and those references only have “mostly” good things to say — what does that say if these are their "best" references?

5. Ask for an Agreement in Writing: Insist on a detailed agreement of the proposed work in writing. Agreements should spell out how the work is to be done from start to finish. For example, if an agreement does not tell you how deep the base of a new patio or walkway will be — what do you have to refer to if the base is only 4 or 5 inches deep and it should be 10-20 inches? Quality companies will give you very detailed agreements so there is little room for "interpretation."

6. Pricing: Quality companies pay for all insurances, quality employees, the best materials and adequate amount of time to do the job properly. If a price is more than 5% or 10% less than proven reputable companies — what might those other companies be missing in completing their work for you?

7. Follow-up: Does the company attend to your needs and requests after the “larger” job is done? Quality companies will return for smaller requests many years later no mater how small the job is or how busy they may be.

8. Time Frame Before They Can Start Work: If a contractor can start your project right away (especially during the busy season) why is that? Reputable companies quite often have a backlog of work because they do good work and many people want their services.

9. Proper Employee Paperwork: Do employees have current, legal and appropriate working documents?

10. Quality Work: It goes without saying you must insist upon the best company when hiring a contractor to work at your home. This requires finding the company who will use the best methods, take the appropriate amount of time to properly complete the job, use the best material and employ the most skillful, experienced and qualified staff. A quality company takes the long view and wants your project to look great many, many years after the work has been completed.

10 Crucial Points
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"Thanks so much for the wonderful work you did on our property. The gentlemen that came to spruce up the place were hard working, tidy, and very courteous. It's been a joy to pull into the driveway. Thanks so much."
—Joan, Andover